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The Secrets to Long-Term Blogging Success [Part 15]

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

Welcome to the 15th (and final) part of our series on blogging success.  Here we discuss strategies you can use to create a blog with long-term profitability in mind.  In case you haven’t checked out any of the other articles you can read the rest here.

I want to start this post by saying that this will be the last in this series… at least for awhile.  It’s a long story which I’ll detail tomorrow.  For now, I’ll just say that I want this site to focus on other topics.

With that in mind, I’m going to wrap up these posts by describing some of the mistakes I’ve made with this blog.  I think this is a great way to conclude this series because it helps you learn from the (hard) lessons I’ve learned in the last seven months.

So let’s get started…

Mistake #1- Not Replying to Comments Promptly

It’s funny… my traffic has doubled in the last few months, but the number of comments has halved.  I think the problem is I sometimes take over 2 or 3 days to respond to my readers.

I feel that not responding to comments is a way to completely alienate yourself from your audience.  My excuse could be that I’m traveling and don’t have a lot of free time.  But the nature of a blog is interaction.  By not being quick with responding, I’m not forming lasting relationships with readers.

The good news is I’ve implemented a system that ensures I never miss a blog comment.  And in the last week it seems to be working pretty well.

Mistake #2- Generic Lead Magnet

I’ve been offering a free report, “Life Plan Mastery” for awhile.  While I give decent information in this eBook, I don’t think it genuinely sparks interest from most readers.  Perhaps it’s the title, or the marketing, but overall nobody seems particularly excited about downloading this freebie.

When it comes to an online business you need to create a free report that people really want.  This is a lesson I seemed to have forgotten during my first foray into blogging.

What finally changed was simply listening to my audience.  One of the comments I kept getting was “how do I locate a good niche for my first online business?”

A major obstacle people have with Internet Marketing is picking a niche that’s profitable.  So instead of offering a nonspecific report about “changing your life,” I now provide a free guide called “41 Hot Internet Marketing Niches.”   I feel this offers real, genuine value about a huge problem people are experiencing.

Mistake #3- Being a “One Trick Pony”

I have experience with a variety of topics.  But lately I’ve been dedicating most of the blog space toward Internet Marketing.  This would be great if I ran a site dedicated to online businesses.  However my goal is to help people get more out of life, not push everyone to start an Internet site. In fact…this has alienated some of my audience.

It’s important to understand your core readership.  Then regularly offer content that speaks to each sector of your audience.  My mistake was I’ve spent too much time on one topic.  I have to admit to myself that some people simply don’t care about Internet marketing.  And this has caused some to stop reading this blog because their needs aren’t being served.

Mistake #4- Not Focusing on Long-Term Profits

After extensive research, I now know that success with a blog comes from dedicated readership…especially if you can grow a responsive email list.

My mistake is I’ve ignored the basic principle of focusing on the “Most Wanted Response” (MWR).

What I haven’t done is structure all of my key areas on the things that grow an audience.  To have long-term success with a blog you need to focus on increasing the quantity and quality of your readership.

This includes a number of actions like:

  • Offering a free report that’s in high demand
  • Putting your RSS feed in a key location
  • Including links to your social media pages on Twitter and Facebook
  • Creating a sense of community and interaction in your comments section

I’m now convinced that these are the best ways to grow an audience.  And you’re going to notice that things are starting to change around here.

So why should YOU care?  Well… I feel other people are making these same mistakes. They load up their sites with all sorts of blinking, flashing do-hickeys that do nothing to increase readership.  In fact, I feel that putting too much on your blog only distracts people from your good stuff.

Mistake #5- One Series at a Time (or a Maximum of 2)

No matter how hard you try, not everyone is going to like all your content.  This is something I’ve forgotten in the last month.  At this point, I have three series running each week:  This series on blogging, my weekly post about creating information products, and Steve’s Sunday Selections.

This means that almost half my content might not hold interest to a lot of my audience.  I feel that recurring series are a great way to sustain an audience’s attention.  But it’s not useful to a new visitor who could care less about Internet Marketing.

I’m now trying to be honest with myself.  If I just came by this blog, I probably wouldn’t read this series on blogging nor the one about infoproducts because it’s simply too much information.

People prefer blog posts in small, bite-sized portions.  Even a massive post of over 2,000 words in length can work if your content is good.  However, it’s a little dangerous to create a 10+ post series because it’s a lot of content for your readers to digest.  If you want to provide this much information, put it into a free report.

This is the End…

Like I said, this is the last in this series (unless I get inspired in a few months and decide to add more).

Hopefully you learned something about creating a successful blog.  I’ve had a lot of fun writing this series.  It’s even helped define what I actually want to do with this site.  So it’s been incredibly helpful to have an excuse each week to think about ways to improve my blogging system.

I want to ask a favor as I close this post.  Was there anything I missed in this series about blogging?  Were their problems I didn’t address?  Did you agree with what I discussed or do you feel I completely miss the mark?  Let me know your thoughts…

Take Action. Get Results.



{ 10 comments }

Karen

Hey Steve,

A 15th part series? Wow, you hit it out the park with this one. Tons of useful information scattered throughout the articles. I’ve learned a lot from you, so thank you.

I personally really liked your ‘Life Plan Mastery’ ebook but I can understand where people are getting confused because you have been concentrating more on the blogging aspect and internet marketing than the personal development aspect. I think it’s perfectly okay to have a variety of topics, but you’re right – too long on one topic that’s of no interest to your readers means that some people won’t visit or engage with you. I’m also guilty of not replying promptly to comments (I used to be way, way better at it), but it can get a little overwhelming at times.

Great series. I expect to see this in an ebook format soon (or an email series). You did a great job!

Karen

Steve Scott

Thanks Karen,

Yeah 15 parts is a lot, I likely went overboard. Perhaps I could have rewritten a little to make them “one off’s” and not seem so daunting as to be a part of such a large series.

At some point I may retool the series for some sort of a eBook, not sure for now though, I have enough little mini-projects to keep me going for a while.

Thanks for the feedback, Karen,

Steve

Justin Germino

This was a good article and I particularly agree with responding to comments promptly, this is harder for part time bloggers who only blog nights and weekends but sometimes responding to a comment within 15 to twenty minutes is the only way to stimulate a discussion on your blog.

With regards to post length, the same thing applies to YouTube videos, short and concise is better than being long winded. If you feel you have so much content on the same topic, I agree that it should be broken up into a series or better yet try to lead somehow by spreading the content across multiple blogs (one post leads to another somewhere else) or even your mailing subscriber list.

Steve Scott

Justin,

Thanks for the comment. You are 100% right about keeping things to the point. Particularly in YouTube. I think I heard they increased the length of videos you can post there too. But many are to long..particularly if you have a call to action at the end, unless your content is REALLY engaging it is much better to be concise.

Alex

Steve,

This is a particularly good post that does more than you think for readers.
WHat you have done is inadvertently created a how to for blogging longevity and I am definitely sharing and bookmarking this for my own readers to have a look at.
What I like most is your self analysis – really I actually learnt something reading this and so I cna actually offer some insight here:
Be careful to not let lesson 2 and 3 conflict, because I found I needed to really go sub niche within the blogging niche to make a statment, so I went Keyword research, so far its great, but then I need to make sure that I talk about blogging in general time to time or I will become the one trick pony you talk about.

Great post man, really. I have not even read the first 14 parts (15 parts?!?! holy shitsticks) and I got SOOO much out of this one.

Awesome mate.

Steve Scott

Alex,

Thanks a lot man. I have really come to enjoy your blog also. Even when I feel I know the material very well, your writing style never fails to entertain. Even better sometimes you surprise me with something that I thought I knew completely only to find out you know a little something I hadn’t thought of.

Thanks a lot for your kind words.

Steve

Ana @ Blog Traffic Generation

Hi again, Steve.

Very deep points you are touching in your post and I think very subjective ones at that.

It’s good to hear somebody’s perspective though.

Let me ask you a question: would you rather be a one trick pony or a jack of all trades.

I know you are into niches judging by your free report, so what’s wrong with creating a niche with your blog? So what you’ll lose some readership because of it? Seems to be you’ll gain something much better – targeted readership.

What’s your take on that?

Ana Hoffman

Steve Scott

Ana,
You are probably right, it is subjective. I think there are basically two paths for blogs to become really successful. One way is to be a one trick pony. Own a specific niche and be one of the recognized authority experts on it. That was anybody in that narrow vein, knows that YOU are the person to go to. Like you said, “targeted traffic”.

The other way is to be a little broader (still hopefully having a nice deal of focus) and get a people from different (but hopefully ‘sort of’ congruent) Areas to be interested in what you write. You will never have as broad of a depth at one specific area, but you can draw from a wider base.

Since I think that I fall into #2 area. (unless i refocus the entire blog) I guess what I was saying is that I realized that I hadn’t been equitable with my fan base and there were many interests that I may have not been giving fair time to.

To be honest the question of whether I would rather be a jack of all trades or a one trick pony is one that I have been grappling with. I do enjoy the internet marketing aspect a lot and I fell it likely I will continues to slant that way. But I feel that I also have a lot to contribute to the lifestyle aspects.

I generally don’t make hasty decisions, this is one that may be thinking on for a while.

Thanks,

Steve

Neil

Hi Steve,

My .02

Where to start. I really enjoyed the series. Was it too long for blog posts? I dunno. I am trying to figure that on out for myself on my site.

You want to try to give out enough information to be helpful, and not be one of those sites that gives out a general outline, but no meat. On the other hand not too long. It’s a balance that is difficult to achieve, but I think do-able with some tweaking.

I used to visit your blog in the day, and had no idea you were such an expert at niches, and IM. I personally think that you are an authority expert in that field, but have started to throw a little Steve in there. Your latest post about time management has nothing to do with IM, but it is related and it does fit.

I like the way your blog is going, so IMHO Keep it up !

Thanks

Neil

Steve Scott

Thanks Neil,

I like to think I am a expert at everything (wink) Anyhow I am not going to abandon niches and IM by any means. It is how I make a living and I think I have a lot of knowledge there to help people. I do post on some varying topics, but I think you have a point that even when they do not directly relate they all do loosely relate. 🙂

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